Hard as it is to get a boyfriend in Washington, it may be harder to get a girlfriend.
No, not the kind you have sex with, but someone who, when you meet her, makes you think "Oh my GOD this woman is awesome. I hope we are friends forever." Someone who just GETS you, because your minds work at the same ridiculous speed and for once you've met somene else who knows that conversations can, under the right circumstances, become a competitive sport. Someone who is incredibly smart yet also brings out your silly girly side, the kind who you don't feel embarrased drinking fruity cocktails or watching two different DVD versions of Pride and Prejudice with in the same weekend, because, after all, Matthew MacFayden and Colin Firth made some very different character choices that warrant discussion (and swooning). Someone who is really good at mixing circles of friends and gets genuinely excited, instead of intimidated or jealous, when they become friends independent of the original link. Someone who you know you can call when you are celebrating, need a shoulder to cry on or because you just heard "Poison" on the radio and it reminded you of that episode of Scrubs that you guys all dance along to.
We all know that girls can be just awful to one another, and age often only sugarcoats any inherent bitterness. We compete with the other women we call friends, comparing ourselves to them or bitching about them silently or behind their backs, not telling them the truth even when they ask for it out of what we call politeness but what is really cowardice. Even when that nastiness is absent, it's still tough to find another girl who you click with. After all, we look for that je nes se quois in our romantic partners-- to find it in a woman friend after mucking through all the other stuff is rare, and, when it happens, so great.
Libby and I met almost two years ago through a Senate race our bosses consulted for. I had drive out to meet her on the corner outside her downtown office to give her a video camera for a prep session. I Google Image searched her before the hand-off because hey, better to recognize her quickly and not hold up a motorcade or something. The photo that came up was of her in the Michigan Daily, meaning she was obviously good people. The oft-mentioned R had already told me that we should meet and that I should take care of her because she was new to the city and had just been through an awful breakup.
HA. Little did he know what was about to ensue.
Since that equipment hand-off, the subsequent football game and Lord only knows how many toes stubbed doing the aforementioned dance, Libs has been an amazing friend. I seriously cannot imagine the last two years without everything she's brought into my life. I wouldn't have met my many amazing friends, I may never have found the guts to go backpacking and I certainly wouldn't have gotten into nearly as much trouble. There would have been a lot fewer hangovers and a lot less laughter. In short, it would have been a very different life.
Tonight I and a bunch of our girlfriends went over to watch her pack, mourn and toast her with a bottle of Michigan's finest. Most of the other girls left before me, and most of them cried as they said their goodbyes. When it was my turn, I couldn't work up the tears. I mean, I'm sad, but I'm also in total denial. It absolutely hasn't hit me that she's leaving for a year and won't be in close contact. It probably won't until the first time I reach for the phone to tell her something ridiculous or bitch about the fact that stupid people are still allowed to work and walk among us that it will sock me in the gut that "What? Libby doesn't live in America anymore? Who the hell let that happen?!" You will not want to be around when this all finally clicks into place.
So ladies, if you have these kinds of girlfriends in your lives, go and tell them how much you love them. Because one of these days, they'll pack up an go to graduate school in a whole other damn country and be all "Dude, you should have come with me," and you'll have to be the girl who says "Well, you just have to kick enough ass for both of us while you're there."
Libs, it a testament to our friendship that I am sharing a picture of my shiny-ass club face with the Internet.